RV industry veteran Norm Frohreich has launched a CD version of the “Floorplan Trader,” a soft-cover book he first published in 2004 that features more than 95% of the floorplans produced by major manufacturers in 2002.
Within the next year Frohreich, president of Middlebury, Ind., consulting firm Norlander Information Services Inc. (www.nis-info.com), will release 2003 and 2004 versions and then follow with once-a-year releases aimed at the dealer sector.
Frohreich’s intention is to sell dealers annual subscriptions to the “Floorplan Trader” for $695 to use as an aid to increase their used RV business.
“We are trying to close an information gap,” said Frohreich, who spent more than 30 years in various RV manufacturing positions. “Right now the industry is really not doing a very good job in the pre-owned market. One of the major issues is knowledge.”
The publishing effort is being headed by Frohreich’s wife, Peggy, vice president of Norlander.
A recent marketing study for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) by economist Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan found that dealer sales of pre-owned RVs increased from 14% to 21% of the total used market between 2001 and 2005 versus transactions between private individuals.
The “Floorplan Trader” for 2002 models features 3,800 floorplans in PDF format on four CDs – motorhomes, fifth-wheels, travel trailers and specialty trailers, the latter of which includes truck campers, hybrid trailers, towable sport utility RVs (SURVs) and folding camping trailers.
Each listing contains a line-drawing of the floorplan, model number, original MSRP, dry weight, hitch weight, GVWR and cargo capacity. For motorhomes, the chassis and engine also are listed.
“Floorplan Trader” makes no effort to determine a specific floorplan’s current value. “I don’t have access to the data to prove the value,” Frohreich said. “The key value is the floorplan itself. If someone calls a dealer and tells him he has a 2002 fifth-wheel that he wants to trade, the dealer can have a better idea of its value if he knows the specifics of the floorplan.
“The appraisal guides have nothing other than straight-line depreciation on RVs. That has no bearing on the value of a specific floorplan.”
With a couple of exceptions, manufacturers who sell their products through dealers are providing floorplan information for the “Floorplan Trader,” Frohreich said.
“It took us three years to get the copyright releases,” he said, noting that the collection of historical data began in 2001.
Frohreich said his agreement with manufacturers is that standard-run floorplans won’t be published for nine months after their model year has expired.
Annual editions are expected to be published each spring.